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TV Note: Parents Council list slams 'Buffy,' 'Friends'

Monday, August 26, 2002

A parents group applauded broadcasters Wednesday for embracing more family-friendly programming in prime-time, yet scolded television's two most popular shows for being among the raciest.

Both NBC's "Friends" and CBS's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" made the Parents Television Council list of the 10 worst shows in prime-time.

Little-watched "Doc," a Pax TV drama about a country doctor who moves to New York City, was named the best show on television by the conservative watchdog group for its "uplifting and inspirational" themes.

After years when it was considered unhip, family-friendly programming has increased slightly in prime time, with ABC and the WB network lately making it a priority. ABC has blamed its recent ratings trouble partly on a decision to move away from that audience.

"It definitely is a heartening development," said Melissa Caldwell, the PTC's research director.

UPN's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was rated the worst show in prime-time, with the PTC condemning it for graphic violence and sex, and an element of the occult.

The group criticized TV's most popular comedy, "Friends," for basing much of its humor on sexual references or situations. The PTC said the show, which also featured two unmarried characters having a baby this spring, was inappropriate for its 8 p.m. time slot.

Jennifer Aniston's Rachel character gave birth in the season's final episode.

"I'm not really sure why it passed without much discussion," Caldwell said. "But it's certainly not a good role model, especially considering how popular the show is with teen-age viewers."

"CSI" was criticized for dealing graphically with themes of incest and sadomasochism. The show has had a meteoric rise in popularity, often besting "ER" as viewers' favorite drama.

Four WB shows -- "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," "Reba," "Smallville" and "7th Heaven" -- made the PTC's list of best shows for families.

But "Gilmore Girls" -- a WB show that was created specifically through funding provided by advertisers interested in family-friendly programming -- was left off the list. Caldwell said her group was concerned about some of the mother's relationships in the show.

(David Bauder, Associated Press)

TV Hall of Fame inductees

Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, who frequently broke character while cracking up on "The Carol Burnett Show," will be among those inducted this fall into the Television Hall of Fame.

The list of honorees announced Monday by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences also includes late director John Frankenheimer, designer Bob Mackie, "All in the Family" actress Jean Stapleton, and Bud Yorkin, the director-producer of "Maude" and "Good Times."

The ceremony is to take place Nov. 6 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The academy, which also presents the Emmy Awards, selects honorees through nomination by a board of governors and votes from the Hall of Fame selection committee, headed by "All in the Family" producer Norman Lear.

(Associated Press)

Soft porn past

New "Survivor" cast member Brian Heidik is getting lots of exposure now that snoops have uncovered his past as a porn stud.

The 34-year-old, who is part of the upcoming "Survivor: Thailand" series on CBS, identified himself in his official bio as a used car salesman and part-time actor with appearances on shows such as "Baywatch Nights," "Doogie Howser, M.D." and the soap opera "Days of Our Lives."

But the Web site TheSmokingGun.com has posted stills from some soft-core adult movies he made, such as "The Virgins of Sherwood Forest" (2000) and "Sinful Obsession" (1999).

The photos feature Heidik simulating sex with various women, sometimes two at a time. A distinctive tattoo of a tiger on his right shoulder is visible in both his CBS publicity photo and the movie sex scenes.

CBS issued a statement Tuesday saying the network was aware of his past credits and allowed him to decide how to describe himself in his official public biography.

"Brian Heidik is certainly not the first actor to omit certain credits from his biography," the statement read. "While this is a part of his past, he is now a successful used car salesman raising a family in the suburbs, and we feel he definitely brings something to the show."

The "Survivor: Thailand" contest is already complete after taping in June and July. The first episode is set to debut Sept. 19.

(Associated Press)

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